Source: Pats' Rhamondre Stevenson out with high ankle sprain

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Tests showed that Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson suffered a high ankle sprain and is expected to miss "a few weeks," a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Stevenson sustained the right ankle sprain in the first quarter of Sunday's 6-0 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers that sidelined him for the rest of the game.

The Patriots (2-10) visit the Steelers (7-5) on Thursday, and veteran Ezekiel Elliott is expected to take over Stevenson's lead role.

"It's tough to see guys go down," Elliott said Monday. "I know it's part of the sport, but Rhamondre has been very, very good for us this year in the pass game and run game. You hate to see one of your brothers go down."

Stevenson leads the Patriots with 619 rushing yards on 156 carries (3.96 average), and also is the team's leading receiver (38 catches).

After Stevenson's injury Sunday, Elliott became the team's workhorse, finishing with a season-high 44 snaps. On the season, Elliott has played 38% of the offensive snaps and has totaled 429 rushing yards on 112 carries (3.83 average).

Elliott, in his first season with the Patriots after spending the first seven years of his career with the Dallas Cowboys, relayed that he's ready for an increased role if called upon.

"I think the more and more I'm in there, the better I'll be. The more touches I get, the better I get with the game going on," he said.

The Patriots also have eight-year veteran Ty Montgomery and fourth-year player JaMycal Hasty on the running back depth chart, with 2022 sixth-round pick Kevin Harris on the practice squad.

New England ranks last in the NFL in points per game (12.3). The running game, with Stevenson leading the way, has been one of the bright spots.

Stevenson sustained the injury when blitzing Chargers linebacker Tuli Tuipulotu came in unblocked and tackled him from behind, with his weight coming down on the back of Stevenson's right leg.

The tackling technique, often referred to as a hip-drop tackle, has been a hot-button topic around the NFL due to player safety concerns. Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews is among those sidelined by injury as a result of it.

Stevenson fumbled the ball as a result of the contact, and Tuipulotu recovered it.